The Mendenhall Mayor and Board of Aldermen approved the fiscal year 2020-2021 budget during their September 29 recessed meeting.
They also adopted the 2020-2021 tax levy resolution, with millage remaining the same. According to the proposed budget totals, the city will operate with $1,635,550.00 in the general fund this upcoming year. Solid Waste will operate with a budget of $228,450.00, and Municipal Fire with a budget of $45,840. The Water and Sewer fund got $596,065.00. Combined the proposed City budget comes to a total of $2,505,905.00.
A summarized breakdown detailing the general fund and operating budget of each department was provided, and the budget has been published in this week’s paper. The totals released for the Police Department show the PD operating with a budget of $519,139.00. Police Chief Candy McCullum has been active in seeking grants and other programs to effectively assist the department. The Board previously approved raises for full time employees with the Mendenhall Police Department.
The City has budgeted $159,278.00 for asphalt this upcoming fiscal year which is more than the approximately $90,000 that was spent last year. City leadership anticipates paving will be consistent with what has been done in the past around town with an emphasis placed on the worst streets. During the 2019-2020 fiscal year the city was able to successfully pave Circle Drive in its entirety which significantly improved the appearance of Mendenhall High School and Elementary. The Street Department as a whole will have an operating budget of $313,006.
The City Park Department has an operating budget of $90,314 for the upcoming fiscal year. Other minor upgrades to the Mendenhall Sportsplex have been discussed and may be acted upon during this fiscal year. The Mendenhall Armory, Civic Center, and Teen Center will be maintained with a combined budget of $9,600.
The Library commanded $18,325 of the general fund, and the fire department will operate with $70,329. The Mendenhall Fire Department has grown by leaps and bounds due to the hard work of several individuals. The department continues to maintain an improved fire rating at a 6. Improving the fire rating has been a long term goal of the city, and leadership is constantly looking for ways to make it even better. This is evident by the recent addition of the Rosenbauer custom truck that was recently added to the fleet last year. The addition of the new water tank on Highway 43 will also assist the fire department.
The city committed their annual $9,400 towards economic development. Other departments operating budgets in the general fund include the Legislative Department ($189,723), Judicial Department ($97,877), and Executive Department ($46,502).
The city has prioritized getting the water tower in the industrial park up and running. The water tank is located on Highway 43 and is anticipated to assist approximately 250 customers in Mendenhall with water pressure and also give the city an additional well. The increased water source provided by the tank will assist the Mendenhall Fire Department in maintaining the current fire rating, and enhance the city’s possibility for growth.
Mayor Todd Booth explained that there has been a lot of work put into getting the tank operational and the current step is getting a working pump installed. The pump project was expected to be covered in the 2019-2020 fiscal year but was going to cost more than anticipated.
The project is going to cost over $50,000. Initial quotes suggested it would be approximately $62,000 to get the pump installed. Booth explained that engineers suggested the city go with a larger pump to help water flow, and improve maintenance over time. The board accommodated the project and budgeted approximately $68,000 for the upcoming fiscal year to complete it. The water tank is anticipated to be tied into the city system within the next 7 months. The bidding process has already been initiated on piping the tank into the system and installing the pump.
Booth said, “This is going to help the city in a big way. We’ve been so blessed to be able to get this moving in the right direction.”
Booth explained that other projects the city hopes to accomplish in this year’s budget include getting new lights installed on East Street and looping the water system around the frontage road to assist customers in the area with water pressure.
Booth said, “We’ve placed a priority on infrastructure and we’ve gotten our sewer system where it needs to be. Now we’re working to get our water where it should be.”